Ziprasidone

Sounds like 'zi-PRAS-i-done'

Ziprasidone is used to treat the symptoms of some types of mental illness such as schizophrenia. Find out how to take it safely and possible side effects. Ziprasidone is also called Zusdone.

What is ziprasidone?

Ziprasidone is used to treat schizophrenia, mania and agitation in psychosis. It doesn't cure these conditions but is used to help ease the symptoms and help you on your recovery path. It can help improve symptoms such as the experience of hearing voices (hallucinations), ideas that distress you and don't seem to be based in reality (delusions) and difficulty in thinking clearly (thought disorder).

Ziprasidone
 belongs to a group of medicines called antipsychotics. Read more about 
antipsychotic medicines and how they work. 

Dose

In Aotearoa New Zealand, ziprasidone is available as capsules. 

  • The usual dose of ziprasidone is 40 milligrams twice a day.
  • Some people may need higher doses of up to 80 milligrams twice a day.
  • Always take your ziprasidone exactly as your doctor has told you.
  • The pharmacy label on your medicine will tell you how much ziprasidone to take, how often to take it and any special instructions.

How to take ziprasidone

  • Take ziprasidone twice a day, in the morning and evening. Try taking your ziprasidone doses at the same times each day. It's best to take ziprasidone with food or just after food. Taking your capsule with food helps make it work better.
  • Swallow the capsules whole, with a glass of water. Don't open the capsules. If you have problems swallowing ziprasidone capsules, talk to your doctor or pharmacist. Read more about tips for swallowing tablets and capsules.  
  • If you forget to take your dose, take it as soon as you remember. But if it is nearly time for your next dose, just take the next dose at the right time. Don't take double the dose.
  • Keep taking ziprasidone every day. It usually takes a few weeks to start working and it can take a few months before you feel the full benefits.
  • Don't stop taking ziprasidone suddenly as your symptoms may return if stopped too early; talk to your doctor or nurse before stopping.

Things to consider while taking ziprasidone

  • Avoid alcohol while you are taking ziprasidone, especially when you first start treatment. Alcohol can increase your risk of side effects such as dizziness and drowsiness.
  • Ziprasidone can interact with other medicines. Tell your doctor or pharmacist about all medicines you are taking including over the counter medicines, herbal and complementary medicines or recreational drugs.
  • Ziprasidone may cause changes in your blood glucose level, cholesterol level and heart function. Your doctor will check your physical health – you may need to have your weight and blood pressure (BP) measured regularly. You may also need blood tests to check your kidney and liver function, and your cholesterol and blood glucose levels.
  • Ziprasidone is best avoided by people with certain medical conditions, eg, Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy, glaucoma, depression and diabetes. Contact your doctor if you have, or develop, any of these conditions while taking it.
  • Contact your doctor if you are pregnant or planning a pregnancy or if you are breastfeeding.

Possible side effects

Like all medicines, ziprasidone can cause side effects, although not everyone gets them. Often side effects improve as your body gets used to the new medicine.

Side effects What should I do?
  • Feeling shaky or restless, unusual or uncontrollable movements
  • Feeling sleepy, drowsy, or tired
  • Feeling dizzy
  • This is less common with ziprasidone. Some people may feel more alert.
  • As a precaution, don't drive or use tools or machinery until you know how this medicine affects you.
  • Avoid drinking alcohol – it can make drowsiness worse.
  • Tell your doctor if they bother you.
  • Weight gain
  • This is very uncommon with ziprasidone.
  • Talk to your doctor if this concerns you.
  • Feeling over excited or agitated
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Talk to your doctor.
  • Racing heart
  • Dizziness or feeling light headed
  • Talk to your doctor.
  • Sexual problems
  • Changes to your periods
  • Breast changes
 
  • Talk to your doctor.
  • Constipation
  • Ask your doctor to prescribe a laxative, which you may need to take on a regular basis.
  • Eat more fruit, vegetables, brown bread and bran-based breakfast cereals and drink plenty of water.
Did you know that you can report a side effect from a medicine to CARM (Centre for Adverse Reactions Monitoring)? Report a side effect to a product.

Learn more

The following links have more information on ziprasidone:

Med-ucation – benefits & side effects Talking Minds, NZ 
Zeldox Medsafe Consumer Information, NZ

References

  1. Ziprasidone NZ Formulary
  2. Antipsychotic drugs NZ Formulary
Credits: Sandra Ponen, Pharmacist. Reviewed By: Angela Lambie, Pharmacist, Auckland Last reviewed: 19 Dec 2022